Right about now, in the middle of winter, I start dreaming of fresh summer produce. But seeing as ripe tomatoes and melons are still a ways off, I have to make do with the bounty of the season. Which, besides lettuce, include all the brassicas and all the root vegetables.
This white bean root vegetable soup celebrates the humblest of root vegetables and was a collaboration with my friend Melissa, who writes about slow living and connecting with nature through gardening, homesteading, and everyday life.
One of the things we have in common is eating seasonally. In general, it means we both happen to subscribe to a farm box which allows us to eat the region’s best produce that’s growing right now.
Melissa is also quite tuned in with the moon phases, recently posting about the various names of the full moons. Today marks the Hunger moon, traditionally a time of scarcity and resourcefulness. In the deepest, darkest, coldest part of winter, our ancestors would use the last bits in the root cellar or pantry to create a meal.
So, Melissa and I have collaborated to bring you a white bean root vegetable soup to nourish you in the time of the hunger moon. Check out her post to learn more about the hunger moon.
White Bean Root Vegetable Soup
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of root vegetables in my CSA. Simultaneously, I’ve been craving soup. Soup is a perfect weeknight dinner in the middle of winter. It’s hearty and warm, and feeds your spirit.
For this soup to honor the hunger moon, we selected parsnips, rutabaga and celeriac as feature root vegetables for this soup. Additionally, carrots add sweetness to the soup. Onions, garlic, and dried herbs season the root vegetable soup. As well as cast of parmesan rinds.
Parmesan has a thick rind, that while edible, is not as tender as the inner part of the cheese. Sometimes these rinds get cast off or thrown away, but I always save mine to add to soups, stocks, and broths. Here, parmesan rinds add a savory element to the root vegetable soup. For more parmesan depth, simmer your onions, garlic, herbs and rinds for an hour or more before adding the root vegetables.
The white beans add a hearty note, creamy texture, and help keep you satiated after eating this root vegetable soup. Whether made from scratch or using canned, any white bean such as cannellini, great northern, or navy will do. These have the mildest flavors, allowing the root vegetables to shine through in this simple soup.
I often serve soup with a hearty loaf of fresh bread, store bought or homemade. This white bean root vegetable soup also benefits from a sprinkle of parsley for brightness in flavor and even a hint of crushed red pepper.
White Bean Root Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 carrots diced (380g)
- 1 celeriac peeled and diced (320g)
- 3 parsnips diced (330g)
- 2 small rutabaga peeled and diced (330g)
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- Leftover parmesan rinds about 80g
- 4 cups water
- Parsley for topping
Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
Add diced onion, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook onions 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase heat to medium high. Add garlic, thyme, sage and oregano. Stir quickly and continuously 2 to 3 minutes.
Add carrots, celeriac, parsnips, and rutabaga. Cook vegetables about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase heat to high. Add cooked white beans, parmesan rind, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
Cover and let simmer 20 to 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Remove parmesan rind before serving.
Save the parmesan rinds, parsley stems, peels and trimmings to make vegetable stock for later.
I dice my vegetables into 1-inch cubes so they cook more quickly but keep a bit of texture.
You could easily make this soup a slow cooker or crock pot vegetable soup. Add all the ingredients to the pot and cook on low for 4 hours. If you’re cooking for this length, a larger dice will keep your vegetables from completely falling apart.
Omit the parmesan rinds and instead, use some vegetable bouillon or vegetable stock in place of water.
Any ends or trimmings would add even more savory elements to this root vegetable soup. Leftover cuts are perfect for this soup, in keeping with the theme of a hunger moon. Sausage, shredded chicken, or ground turkey are also nice additions.
Check the Fridge
We’ve selected these root vegetables because they often go unfeatured. If you have other root vegetables on hand, feel free to use those. Turnips, potatoes, or radishes could also be used but the flavor profile will be very different from this combination. Wilted greens that have been sitting too long can also be added at the end. Spinach, arugula, kale, chard are all good options.